By Jessica Ricks
The road had suddenly stopped looking familiar. What once felt warm and inviting now felt cold and eerie. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been so unhappy. The sky was growing dark. I had seen that old willow tree before. Was I going in circles now?
There was a sinking feeling in my stomach as I began to panic. The more I panicked the more my heart rate sped up. The more my heart rate sped up, the more the world seemed to spiral out of control around me. The more the world seemed to spiral out of control, the more I wanted to scream and cry.
I couldn’t be going in circles! I had a clear destination in mind. I had to get there and I had to get there now. There was no time to waste and here I was in a dark wasteland.
All of a sudden I heard a laugh. Contrary to my surroundings it wasn’t an evil laugh. There was clearly humor in it. Whoever was laughing was finding this funny!
“Are you laughing at me?” I called in the direction of the laugh. A part of me wanted to strangle them; another part of me just wanted a hug.
The face of a cat, fluffy and purple appeared in the old dead tree above me.
“Who me?” the cat said, the wide smile still on its face.
“Yes you! What’s so funny?”
“A cat can’t have a good time?” it said as it stood on its head…literally it took its head off and was standing on it!
I still wanted to be annoyed but my fear was draining my will to be angry. Instead I felt tired and in need of reassurance. “I need help finding my way.”
“What are you trying to do?”
“I…” I couldn’t help but hesitate. What was I trying to do? All this time I thought I knew but when I thought about it I actually had no idea. “I’m…not sure,” I finally admitted.
“When do you need to be there?” the cat pressed on.
I looked down at my feet in shame that I didn’t know the answer to that question either. “I don’t know.”
“Where are you trying to go?”
I looked up at the cat again who was looking at me with interest. Again, I couldn’t think of an answer. “Well…I guess it really doesn’t matter as long as…”
“Then I guess it really doesn’t matter which way you go,” the cat said with a smirk.
I stared at him with a blank face for a moment waiting for him to tell me he was joking. But his smirk only widened and within a moment, he vanished.
“Wait! Don’t go!” I exclaimed desperately.
But the cat didn’t return.
My fear returned just as quickly as it vanished. I was lost out here. I thought I had such a clear cut plan about where I was going and how I was going to get there but the reality of the situation was that I truly didn’t know.
I sat down on the ground with my face in my hands as the darkness enveloped me. The cat was right. If I didn’t know where I wanted to go then what did it matter the path that I was on. All I saw ahead of me was darkness if I didn’t know where I was going.
All of a sudden it was as if the last puzzle piece had fallen into place in my mind. I remembered my goals, I remembered where I wanted to go and how I had come so far and crossed many obstacles to get to this point. I remembered why I was going and what it took for me to get there. The cat was right. It didn’t matter which way I went. But if I know where I’m going, I’ll have to take different paths to get there. It wasn’t supposed to be easy. If I persisted through the darkness, surely I would make it there eventually.
I stood up and began to run into the darkness ahead of me. I ignored the spiders and the bats and the eerie sounds of the whistling wind. My goal was at the forefront of my mind and I knew how to get there.
A light appeared in front of me. As I approached it, I began to feel all of the warmth and happiness that I had become so accustomed to. I was on the right path and I was never going to lose my way again.

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